Not only does Oregon have the Columbia River Gorge but it also holds little treasures like Punchbowl Falls. To get to this epic waterfall you have to endure a 3.8 mile round trip hike but good news it’s difficultly level is easy. This hike is recommended for children ages 10 and up and is available to hike year round. If you start from the Eagle Creek trailhead you get the 3.8 mile experience, start anywhere else and this hike can take as long as 13 miles to get to Punchbowl Falls. Read more about the hike from Eagle Creek to Punchbowl Falls below.
Before you’ve gone a half-mile you’ll find yourself high above the creek, which has now opened up to a glorious valley. Many months the fog hangs low in the canyon, blocking your view of the snow-encrusted cliff-sides towering around you. In places the trail is narrow and the drop-off is quite steep. Cable lines were built into the walls in sections to provide some stability.
As the trail steadily gains elevation, it begins to divert away from the creek. You’ll notice the quiet as you ascend away from the rushing water and deeper into the lush old-growth forests of douglas fir, cedar and hemlock. Dewy ferns, moss-covered rocks, and sometimes poison oak blanket the forest floor. You will be surprised at the beauty and quiet of these sections, which at times are like scenes from a fairy tale.
Along the rest of the hike, you’ll cross various side-creeks — some by rock steps, many by footbridges. Be sure to look upstream as you pass by — especially in the wetter months — as you will be treated to waterfalls and more lush greenery.
After you’ve walked about a mile and a half, watch for an obvious spur trail off to your right. The path drops down to an overlook with a view of the magnificent 100-foot Metlako Falls, which seemingly shoots straight out of a cliffside into a large pool below.
Walk back up the spur trail to the main drag and continue southward, winding high away from the gorge with the creek well out of view. In just over a half-mile you’ll be at an obvious, signed junction and resting spot near your destination, Punchbowl Falls.
SRC: Read more details about this hike to Punchbowl Falls at: www.portlandhikersfieldguide.org/wiki/Eagle_Creek_to_Punchbowl_Falls_Hike
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